Why TV Still Matters in the Age of Netflix


In some corners of the marketing and advertising world, fueled by digital and social media workhorses, there is still debate as to whether TV is “dead.”

Analytic Partners SVP Mike Menkes says it’s far from comatose and remains a highly valuable place for marketers to place their content, in this exclusive report for RBR+TVBR Members.

By Mike Menkes
Special to RBR+TVBR

As a time-pressed, working parent of three kids, I try to squeeze in a few minutes of New York Yankees and New York Rangers games but otherwise rarely watch live TV. Beyond watching record-breaking shows like HBO’s Game of Thrones in real-time (subject to next-day water cooler conversation and spoilers), my wife and I tend to record and watch some of our favorite shows on our DVR which complement our Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime alternatives.

While I watch time-shifted TV, with a heavy dose of fast forwarding, I’m still exposed to plenty of television commercials. I also work with millennials, who have opted out of a cable subscription and instead look to those same Netflix and Hulu alternatives for their content options. Despite their desire to elude commercials altogether, they too are exposed to ads.

The ‘Is TV dead?’ debate continues, but viewing habits demonstrate that TV is most certainly alive and remains a valuable place for marketers to place their content. It’s just different and more complex than ever before.

TV reach is key
Media is becoming exceedingly fragmented and younger audiences cord cut with abandon, but the reality is that most companies need brand building, and that means finding channels that reach mass audiences. And, as the Nielsen data show, Millennials still watch television. In fact,  77% of 18-34 year-olds watch TV at least once a week. The amount of time spent watching TV, live or time shifted, still dwarfs that of watching TV on connected devices, smartphones or tablets.

Time shifted viewing still counts
When in time-shifted mode, we know many viewers tend to fast forward through ads. Yet, studies show that, even in fast forward mode, ads achieve recall. Furthermore, research has indicated that ad recall is higher for exposed ads as we know the viewer is focused with remote in hand.  And let’s face it – how is this different from scrolling past ads on other platforms, occasionally pausing to take in what may interest us?

Nothing beats TV for brand building
If you need to establish or reinforce a brand, there is nothing like TV. There is a reason why Google and Amazon were some of the top television advertisers in 2018 and continue to be so in 2019. These tech companies have joined Apple in believing in the value of video content to sell new products and reinforce the brand for established products and services.

Quality of exposure counts
Why does every social platform want in on video? Every piece of research on ad creative tends to come to the same conclusion: sight, sound, and motion are the elements needed to build recall and brand impact. Even within the world of digital, a video impression is worth three times that of a display impression. Of course, there are various ways you can deliver :30, :15 and six-second ads. Online video and OTT rock. Just make sure you complement with traditional TV for reach and mind your CPMs to maintain ROI.

Word of mouth and TV go together
For years, in analytics, we would talk about the “water cooler” effect. While we don’t often see water coolers these days, I sure hear a lot of conversation in the snack room at work about what people watched last night. As word of mouth tracking companies show people certainly talk about advertising and brands they’ve been exposed to. TV is terrific at driving word of mouth.

Co-viewing is common
With television, you’re more likely to get a particularly co-viewing experience versus digital media. A recent study showed that 48% of TV viewing is done in a group, and 49% say they are doing more co-viewing than three years ago. This means that every impression may have two or more people actually exposed.

And…you can measure it easily
With TV, we have one set of metrics that are agreed upon. When the 163 year-old company Orvis decided to start advertising on TV this year for the first time in their history, one of their deciding factors was the ease of measurement. While OTT and online video provide a similar experience to linear, the data that comes in for marketers is not consistent across video platforms.

Upfronts still offer the right time, right price
ROI depends on price inputs. If you do not buy TV in the Upfronts, you are left buying in scatter, which can be a 15% to 40% higher price difference. Moreover, industry prognosticators are saying that rates may be hiked into the double digits, because advertisers like Peloton, Wayfair and Warby Parker all want in on what TV has to offer.

Gone are the days when families would huddle around in the living room every night and be fully in tune with the tube, but TV still works and – in addition to digital media – must be part of any truly impactful national marketing plan. As addressable platforms get broader, digital and TV will merge even further.

The notion that TV is dead is incredibly short sighted and misses the big picture: TV is a growing and evolving entity that will always command a powerful connection with consumers. We just have to stay tuned.


Mike Menkes is a SVP at Analytic Partners and is a 16-year veteran of the New York-based marketing management and optimization solutions company.